President Russell M. Nelson gave a great talk this last General Conference about having joy called “Joy and Spiritual Survival.” I personally loved the parables he used to describe having joy. I call them parables because they so closely resemble, perhaps even exactly, what we will encounter in our lives, in these the last days.
His first parable was that of Lehi and his family. They certainly went through trials sore, but “Imagine! Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy! (Joy and Spiritual Survival, October 2016, Russell M. Nelson)
The second parable he used was the story of Eliza R. Snow who with her family fled because of the infamous extermination order of Governor Boggs. She said, “Not a complaint was heard—all were cheerful, and judging from appearances, strangers would have taken us to be pleasure excursionists rather than a band of gubernatorial exiles.” (ibid.)
Notice in both parables President Nelson uses they both are fleeing, and both go through difficult times in the process? They left their homes, their comforts, even their friends and fled for their safety. Interesting parables, huh?
Even though these are some very important parables to be aware of and be preparing for in your own personal journey that’s not what I’d like to focus on in this blog post. Today I’d like to focus on joy. And I know I’m going to talk about it in a way that quite possibly you have never even considered. But once you embrace these ideas, I assure you: You will have joy.
Joy is a godly characteristic or trait, in other words, when you experience joy you are being godlike, but I think the equation also works in reverse, and that is, when you are being godlike you experience joy.
Throughout the scriptures prophets teach us the principles of godliness. The way that Peter teaches this has to be my favorite though. He teaches us that it is through our knowledge of God that we become like God.
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 2:2-4)
And then Peter lists the principles of godliness as an equation:
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
So if I understand these verses correctly, when we add faith, and virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly kindness, and charity to our characters we are partakers of the “divine nature.” I think the “divine nature” is just a fancy way of saying, we are like God, or we are Godlike.
So pretty much, to have joy we ought to add to our daily lives these traits or characteristics. That sounds pretty simple, huh? And for the most part it is, to be sure. But I have found a mystery of godliness that cuts through the difficulty and takes you directly to being like God, and puts you on the super highway of joy.
I say it’s a mystery of godliness because so few have fully understood and embraced its powerful antidote to the doldrums and tribulations of life.
And that mystery is: God is a creator. Make no mistake about it, of all His characteristics that’s the one thing He takes the most seriously.
Have you ever thought about what gives God joy?
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)
God is creating gods. That’s what brings him joy. Worlds without end. Creating brings God joy.
So what one characteristic can we employ that makes us like God and brings us joy? Creation.
Now this is where some get lost in the subtle craftiness of ol’ loser-poopy-nose and refuse to create anything while saying things like, “I’m not creative, I can’t sing, or paint, or bake, or sew, or, or, or …..” and they take the exit off-ramp of true joy.
I think that’s why Peter tells them they are blind:
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off… (2 Peter 1:9)
They’ve been blinded by the adversaries lies.
Let’s not be blind, but let’s shed some much needed light on the subject of creation. What does it mean to create?
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word create as this (and I copy it exactly):
Wait, that’s crazy. To create is to be like God. Yeah, but that also says something else, something very important. The act of creating is to bring something into existence.
So bringing something into existence that wasn’t there before is the act of creation, and when one creates they are like God.
Well this debunks the thought that loser-weasel puts out doesn’t it? You don’t have to be creative to create. In other words, you can create and not exercise an ounce of creativity. How’s that, you ask?
Look. The act of bringing something into existence is what is Godlike, not being creative.
Oh, there are many who are extremely creative creators who create creative creations, but being creative is not a necessary element required to create the creations they create.
Now wasn’t that a creative sentence? But the truth is, I didn’t have to be creative to create it.
It wasn’t there. I brought it into existence. I created it. I am Godlike. I have joy in what I have created. Period.
And that my dear friends is the message of my PrisonTemple post today – have joy, create!
If you are in the doldrums of life, bring something into existence.
I promise, it’s really that easy. Anything, just create it. As you do, your god-gene will be activated and you will begin to experience joy.
Bake a cake, decorate it! Write a song – sing it! Paint a picture – frame it! Clean a gun – shoot it!
Wait. Clean a gun? That’s not creating, is it? It most certainly is. The clean gun wasn’t there before – you created a clean gun, now go shoot it.
And the simplest thing to create that wasn’t there before: a smile.
And if you are still stuck, create something else. I tell you friends, this is the sure fire way to get on the super highway of joy.
When you activate the god-gene within you and create something, an energy like no other begins to stir within you. If you have experienced this phenomenon before then you know what I’m talking about. But if you haven’t go create something. Something big. Something important. Now!
For years my Mother has told the story of when I was young I wouldn’t make just one paper airplane, or just one watercolor, I’d make a hundred. One was never good enough.
I guess I instinctively knew this wonderful mystery of godliness. One was never enough, and it still isn’t. Why? Because men are that they might have joy. Worlds without end. Create!
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